Pure Love + Love of Self = ?

by Christopher Lovejoy on May 30, 2021

In my most recent post, The Core of My Influence, I broached deep and serious questions about the nature, meaning, and purpose of love and purity as they apply to selfhood. In this post, I’ll bring to light some ways and means by which to address these questions with grace and ease.

The questions themselves are quite simple, though not easy (at least to me, at this time) to answer conclusively and definitively. Based on my (considerable) experience and drawing on my (extensive) studies, I can’t think of a better way to begin than to “begin with the end in mind.”

First, the questions.

I’ll start with the mother of all questions (in the context of love and purity as they apply to selfhood): what does it mean to embody a pure love of self with grace and ease, so as to extend the purity of this love, in any given moment, to anyone at all, and why does this even matter to me?

This mother of all questions is resolvable as follows: (1) what is love? (2) what is pure love? (3) what is a love of self? (4) what is a pure love of self? (5) what does it mean to embody a pure love of self?; and (6) what does it mean to embody a pure love of self with grace and ease?

In the wake of giving these questions sufficient care, what does it mean to extend the purity of this love, in any given moment, to anyone at all? Last but not least, why does (should?) this (projection? extension? presentation?) even matter (to me, to you, to us, to them, to anyone at all)?

In view of these questions, what could it possibly mean to embody ultimate fulfillment?

As the title of this post attests, my focus will address, inclusively, questions 1 through 4.

Psychology, Morality, Spirituality

Let me begin with a brief accusation audit: as someone who identifies as { a unitary male INFP-T, 4w5, clarifier and harmonizer}, my take on love (and pure love) will inevitably be somewhat biased in favor of those who likewise identify. I have yet to find some way around this.

Where beliefs and habits are concerned, however, the research is unequivocal: identity is the key to sustainable motivation, as it inspires desired results and outcomes, even as it energizes and optimizes the various ways and means to realize these desired, inspired results and outcomes.

The moral dimension of a life lived well and good is no less relevant and significant.

In my view, psychology comes first, then morality, and then spirituality. Indeed, morality is central to the good life, the pure life, the sweet life, the whole life. One might even go so far as to say that morality mediates the many concerns and interests of psychology and spirituality.

If psychology serves to crystalize the beauty of soul, and if spirituality serves to harmonize the bounty of spirit, then morality serves to optimize the relationship between soul and spirit with a system of values (in serving the beauty of soul) and virtues (in serving the bounty of spirit).

Let us now proceed to address the questions.

Love, Love, Love ~ Pure Love?

The most elegant definition of love that I’ve seen is simply this: a response to value.

By way of response, love either confirms or confers value, and does so through three lenses of selfhood: through the ground of being, which is receptive and reflective; through the consistent, responsible conduct of doing; and through the coherent, responsive behavior of having.

The worth of some one or some thing is either confirmed or conferred with or through love. As someone who identifies as a lover of life, I deem myself worthy of love to the extent to which I remain receptive to love; I deem myself deserving as and when I remain responsive to love.

As a mosaic of influence, a pure being, purely doing and having, always, already embodies and expresses love wholly and fully, and does so in the absence of any effort to avoid, bypass, deny, dismiss, evade, ignore, or resist the flow of inspiration with and through personal experience.

The value of love is found in dedication (to some thing) or devotion (to some one). As and when I dedicate myself to a cause worthy of my love, I find my love made manifest through being, doing, and having, as I remain receptive to love, responsible for love, and responsive to love.

Likewise, as and when I devote myself to a person who feels worthy and deserving of love. As and when I remain ready, able, and willing to love (receptive, responsible, responsive), no need whatsoever arises to give of myself in exchange for love, as I am always, already love itself.

Opportunities to purify love arise as and when love is muddied or sullied by efforts to avoid, bypass, deny, dismiss, evade, ignore, or resist the flow of inspiration with and through personal experience ~ all of which indicate that “I am unworthy and underserving of being love(d).”

A Love of Self > A Pure Love of Self ?

Love is a value that I embody or love is a value that I cultivate.

As a virtue, love is receptive and reflective, but also supportive, protective, and responsive.

Is it possible for a self to love the self? If so, is it necessary for a self to love the self? If so, is it desirable for a self to love the self? If yes, then how best to love the self wholly and fully ~ that is to say, purely?

On the one hand, how can one love the self if one is always already love itself? On the other hand, can one not love the self with and through a dedication and devotion to the cause and care of the self?

Can I not purify my love, and my love of self, through being, doing, and having?

Can I not keep this love pure through being, doing, and having?

Love comes in many flavors, expressible as “be passionate,” “take care,” “be kind,” “accept and forgive,” “be compassionate.” In speaking to a love of self, the self can be construed in at least three ways: as a subject of advocacy, as an object of inquiry, and as a witness to awe and wonder.

self as subject, self as object, self as witness, self as the Creator
be passionate, care, be kind, accept, forgive, be compassionate

Will I not find and follow the best version of myself if I love myself purely?

If I love myself purely, will I not find and follow the best version of myself?

These might seem like strange questions, as many if not most of us have been socialized from early childhood to believe any one or more of the following: (a) “to love myself is wrong, selfish, or conceited”; (b) “I’m not worthy and deserving of love, not even from myself;” or (c) “if others avoid, bypass, deny, dismiss, evade, ignore, or resist me, this must mean that I’m unlovable.”

Said the wounded, withdrawn, frightened, traumatized, triggered, avoidant, dismissive, evasive, ignorant, immature, rude, resistant, gaslighting, scapegoating, blaming, shaming, dramatic, erratic, unworthy, and undeserving child within, cowering inside the adolescent or adult body.

As a result of swallowing one or more of these beliefs, we do not and cannot view and treat ourselves with genuine love and respect ~ we cannot care about ourselves, we cannot be kind to ourselves, we cannot accept and forgive ourselves, we cannot be compassionate with ourselves.

Can I love myself? Not if I feel trapped.

Can I love others if I don’t love myself?

Before I can even begin to purify my love of self, I must reach a place in my heart where I can advocate on behalf of myself as follows: “if I know how to love another, then I know how to love myself, but if I don’t know how to love another, then I better learn how to love myself.”

Thankfully, beliefs can be challenged, uprooted, and replaced.

it’s wrong, selfish, or conceited of me to love myself
it’s good and right and fair to love myself at no one else’s expense

I’m not worthy and deserving of love, not even from myself
I am worthy and deserving of love, especially from and for myself

if others avoid, bypass, deny, dismiss, evade, ignore, or resist me, this must mean I’m unlovable
if others avoid, bypass, deny, dismiss, evade, ignore, or resist me, this might mean they feel unlovable

These switchups in belief are potent, if not downright liberating. As far as I can see, pure love applied to a love of self yields a most essential wisdom that remains imbued with passion and compassion both, which I’ll be more than happy to explore and explicate in posts to come.

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